The minister commented on the value of this research for providing information about how life in Scotland is changing and for helping to determine social policy. Society is changing for families and Growing Up in Scotland will help to more fully understand some of the issues raised by the statistical evidence such as the increase in cohabiting and later age of child bearing.
She noted the continuing commitment of the Scottish Government to parents through its legislative programme as well as the National Parenting Strategy which recognises the variety of parents and speaks to all parents/carers with policy and practice being asset-based, building on the strengths of parents. She mentioned the shift to early intervention and the focus on holistic wellbeing and targeted support underpinned by GIRFEC.
She highlighted various issues and challenges from the research report including:
- The role of carers and families affected by disability and the need for better support
- The need for stable support for looked after children and support for families to prevent children having to be looked after
- Need for achieving permanence quickly
- Need for increased support for kinship carers
- The expansion of childcare to support families and working parents
- The need for high quality and flexible childcare
- The high costs of childcare; the differential working patterns of women and men
- The lack of evidence, for example about children and families with a parent in prison; step families; separation and cohabitation
- The importance of connectedness for families and communities; keeping fathers active in families and the negative consequences of the bedroom tax.
She concluded by emphasising the importance of supporting parents as the key to promoting good outcomes for children.